Fence posts - How to Install
All types of fencing is secured and supported by fence posts. While most of the attention is drawn to the actual fence, the building requirements for posts are often overlooked. Before installing your fence, you will need to understand the needs of the post.
Fence posts come in a variety of shapes, sizes and building materials, but all are erected vertically into the ground and must be secured with poured cement. Each of the posts must be set at least two feet into the ground and the hole must be wide enough to surround the post in cement. Stabilizing your posts correctly will add years of life to the fence line.
Hints for installing posts:
- Soak the ends of the wood posts that will be buried in creosote for at least 24 hours to protect the wood from rot. Creosote is the best preservative but there are other products available at a fencing supply store.
- Layout the location of each post and measure several times.
- Do not pour cement until all posts are in place.
- Brace posts with scrape lumber to secure until cement is poured and set, or use socket spikes to secure posts.
- Use a product called "postfix", a rapid-dry cement mixture for fence posts.
- If you mix your own cement, mix four-part sand, four-part pea gravel and one part cement.
- Consider using foundation sockets to prevent rotting of a wood post from the bottom.
- Use a level to determine it is vertically straight.
- Allow at least 48 hours for the cement to harden before erecting the fence.
If an end post must be attached to a wall, make sure the wall is structurally sound. Using expanding bolts, the post can be attached to the house or garden wall. If attaching to brick or other masonry product, pre-drill your holds into the actual brick not the mortar.
Considerations for fence post materials:
- Timber posts made from hardwood are more durable than softwood.
- Concrete posts are heavier, do not rot but are unattractive and expensive.
- PVC or vinyl posts are not as strong as other posts and need to be stabilized internally with timber.
- Metal posts match well with chain link and wrought iron fencing. Can be solid metal or hollow tubes. Sizes are determined by manufacturer.